It seems that whenever I go to the Old Sautee Store I come across some time travelers. (I wrote about this once before here… https://michellesmosaic.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/childs-play/) There is just something about that place that takes people on a journey. Today I sat outside, eating lunch in the on-and-off mist. The umbrellas that provide shade in the summer also provide shelter from the wet fall rain. Not too great if it is pouring, but on an overcast day like today, it was perfect. Seeking refuge away from the full tables inside, it was a quiet place for conversation with my Nashville son whom I haven’t seen in months.
I always love to sit out there because of the barrel-o-bubbles I have come to call it. It is the time machine that attracts adults and kids alike. It seems to me that one never outgrows the desire to create big beautiful bubbles. Even in the mist a couple of different people took their turn dipping magic wands into the soapy liquid in hopes of traveling back to their childhoods. I was intrigued by one man who was carrying a very nice camera around his neck. Rather than taking pictures of the store, or the quaint sandwich shop, or the antique artifacts all around, he focused his lens on the bubbles. Or he tried to anyway. He waved the wand and quickly tried to grab his camera before the bubble popped. From my angle it appeared to be a game, and the bubbles were winning. He eventually gave it up, leaving me to wonder if he got any good shots and what his childhood bubble story is that would draw him to stand in the rain trying to catch a bubble on film.
As we were leaving I noticed a man standing by the old antique gas pump out in front of the store. He stood gazing at that red gas pump with the clear glass dome at the top with that faraway look I have begun to recognize. He was dressed in overalls with a plaid flannel shirt serving as his jacket. He was an African American gentleman who had gray whiskers and gray hair and a few wrinkles to go with it. He was stooped with age, and he had a smile on his face a mile wide as we approached.
“Do you see this pump? This is how we got gasoline when I was a kid.” He proceeded to tell the story of the gas pump with a sparkle in his eyes. He was reliving the “good ol’ days” right in front of us. Traveled right back to his boyhood…taking us along with each word. He showed us where the handle would have been to send the gas up to the dome. He told us all about watching it up there and seeing it drain down as it got pumped out. Then he turned to the machine next to the pump and starting explaining how it was where you got your oil. I have seen this machine for years sitting out there…had no idea what it was until today. With animation he pointed out where the knobs would be and how you could get good oil or used oil depending on which side you used. He said the man would sell you either one, and that the used oil was cheaper.
I told him it was amazing to think of how different gas pumps are now.
He said, “It’s called technology.”
“I know and it has happened in such a short time…just a few years really.”
He nodded and said with a laugh, “I see what you did there young lady. Thanks you.”
I thanked him for calling me young lady, and bantered with him a bit about the quick passage of time.
As he talked the wrinkles in his face seemed to fade away for a few minutes. I have watched this age defying process before at this store and experience it myself from time to time. I love how memories of younger years can melt away the stresses of the day. It seems to me that God made our brains to remember innocence. When we are transported through time by these memories it is freeing. The heart feels lighter and our inner child jumps for joy to be remembered and to show us what we were like before life got so complicated. It is a beautiful thing and I love to go back there…whenever I get a chance at the bubbles.